TERRE HAUTE —
For retailers across the country, Black Friday got under way well before the last Thanksgiving turkey gobbled.
Inside Kmart on U.S. 41 South, store manager Jimmy Snow said most of the door-busting deals had been snapped up long before Friday morning rolled around. This was the first year the store opened its doors at 8 p.m. Thursday night, and the result was a line of nearly 500 people reaching nearby Lowes.
“And they kept pouring in,” he said later Friday afternoon, terming the early opening a huge success.
The longstanding tradition of opening the Christmas shopping season on the morning after Thanksgiving Day was knocked to the wayside this year as retailers lit up the holiday’s evening. According to Associated Press reports, the Mall of America in Minneapolis had 30,000 people lined up for the facility’s midnight opening, compared with 20,000 last year. About 11,000 shoppers were in lines wrapped around Macy’s flagship store in New York City’s Herald Square when it opened at midnight on Black Friday, up from an estimated 9,000 to 10,000 shoppers in 2011.
The early opening resulted in waves rather than steady streams. Inside Honey Creek Mall on Friday afternoon, employees of Blondie’s Cookies enjoyed a brief lull after a frenzied morning. Manager Barbie Fox said the store sold more than 800 cookies and eight industrial containers of coffee between midnight and 4 a.m.
“From midnight to 4 a.m., it was just insane,” she said, explaining mall traffic eased up a bit at that point, then resumed at later points throughout the day. But business remained brisk even around 2 p.m., and she said she’d already given out 30 trays of cookies as free samples by that point. More than 48 dozen more un-iced cookies were ready on the table nearby.
“And that’s just the un-iced cookies. That’s not everything,” she said, remarking that cookies with sprinkles were the undisputed favorite for this year’s Black Friday shoppers.
The Associated Press reported the stock market felt the surge before its 1 p.m. close. Technology stocks soared, lifting the Nasdaq composite index by more than 1 percent. Dell, chipmaker AMD and Hewlett-Packard were the top three gainers in the Standard & Poor’s 500. Technology rose the most among the index’s 10 industry groups. The Nasdaq ended up 40.30 points, or 1.4 percent, at 2,966.85. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 172.79, or 1.4 percent, to 13,009.69 — the first time since Election Day that the Dow closed above 13,000.
Big winners on the market included Dell, which rose 49 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $9.55, and HP, which added 50 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $12.44.
Inside Kmart’s electronics department, sales associate Dylan Molenaar said entertainment seemed on the minds of shoppers eager to snap up 50-inch television sets for $288. Across the aisles in the toy department, Gary Bennett said shelves were already bare of some items.
“Any kind of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. We can’t keep them in stock,” he said, adding Disney’s Doc McStuffins toys were also moving quickly.
At 2:51 p.m., the lone Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figure left on the shelves was “Kraang,” and the hooks hung empty where hundreds had already been taken.
A Rockville family shopping inside UniversiTEES in Honey Creek Mall said members of their group had been at it in shifts. Diane and Andrea Fischer joined Stephanie and Ashley Gordon in the holiday tradition of seeking Christmas presents, and Andrea noted she’d been in line at Best Buy beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday.
“I know what I want when I go in,” she said of her shopping strategy.
Diane said she was picking up Christmas presents and scouting deals that afternoon. “It’s fun. I enjoy it,” she said.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or email@example.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.